Hudson made her singing debut in church at the age of seven, and continued singing in local Chicago talent shows throughout her teens. By age 19, she landed her first professional job in the musical Big River and went on to work for Disney Cruise Lines. Although she placed a disappointing seventh on the third season of American Idol in 2004, she bounced back when she won the career-making role of Effie White in the lauded 2006 movie musical Dreamgirls. Not only did Hudson eclipse her costar Beyoncé Knowles with her powerful performance as an ugly-duckling diva, but she also beat out season 3 American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino for the role. Hudson quickly racked up numerous accolades for her work in the film, including a Golden Globe, a SAG Award and an Oscar for best supporting actress. Her successful vocals led to her first record deal and a self-titled album. Hudson followed her movie debut with a supporting spot in the blockbuster film version of Sex and the City and in 2010 became a spokesperson for Weight Watchers.
- First public singing appearance was in church at age 7.
- Performed in musical productions on a Disney cruise ship.
- Gained a following singing her way into a finalist spot in season three of American Idol.
- Won the role as Effie White in the film version of Dreamgirls after beating out more than 700 others who had auditioned, including Fantasia Barrino, the winner of the third season of American Idol.
- Released her self-titled debut album in September 2008; it was later certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
- Won three NAACP Image Awards in 2009, including one for Outstanding New Artist.
- Featured in a 2010 ad campaign for Weight Watchers.
- 2008, Grammy — Best R&B Album: Winner
- 2014, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Humanitarian: Winner
- 2006, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Winner
- 2007, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Acting Ensemble: Nominee
- 2007, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Winner
- 2006, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 2007, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Winner
- 2006, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Winner
- 2007, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Supporting Actress: Winner
- 2016, Grammy — Best Musical Theater Album: Winner
- Samuel Samson — Father
- Julia Hudson — Sister
- James Payton — Ex-significant Other
- Jason Hudson — Brother
- David Otunga — Fiancé
- David Daniel Otunga Jr. — Son
- Julia Kate Hudson — Grandmother
- Darnell Donerson — Mother
- Attended Kennedy-King College, Chicago, Illinois, United States
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